New Jersey’s offshore Winddevelopers will contribute $10,000 per megawatt to research on marine life. This will allow New Jersey scientists and engineers to better understand the impact of wind farms in the Atlantic Ocean.
According to state officials, the Research Monitoring Initiative will direct $26 million from power companies for the study of wind turbines’ effects on ocean wildlife and commercial fisheries.
During a virtual meeting, Shawn LaTourette, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner said that there was still much to be understood during planning and construction phases as well as operation.
With the cooperation of the Regional Wildlife Science Entity (RWE) and the Regional Offshore Science Alliance (ROSA), the money will be distributed to research institutions throughout New Jersey. These two independent organizations are focused on learning more about offshore wind’s impact on the environment.
The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced earlier this month that it had completed an environmental assessment of a proposal for wind turbine development on nearly 800,000 acres of ocean off New Jersey and New York. This area is known as the New York Bite.
New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities has already approved twooffshore wind projects off the state’scoast: a1,510-megawatt project, called Atlantic Shores,off of Long Beach Island, and two projects called Ocean Wind 1 and 2, that total2,200-megawatts,lie off Atlantic City.
The Research Monitoring Initiative is expected help identify the farms’ impact on vulnerable ocean species, such the endangered North Atlantic right Whale.
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According to the The, construction of wind turbines will increase ocean sound and vessel traffic in the area, increasing the risk of ship strikes among the small population of whales that migrate along New Jersey’s coast. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
This section of Atlantic Ocean is also the foundation forNew Jersey’s $1 billion seafood industryThe area is awash with blue crabs, scallops, and Atlantic mackerel, among other species.
Scot Mackey from the Garden State Seafood Association, a group advocating for New Jersey’s commercial fishers, stated that “when it involves some of the science research (of wind farms’ impacts), I think there are a lot of unknowns out there.”
Many in the industry are concerned that large wind farms could disrupt the Cold Pool, which Mackey described as a convergence of different ocean temperatures that makes the mid-Atlantic’s waters productive fishing grounds. He said that it is not clear whether the miles of ocean turbines will cause a disruption to the Cold Pool or impact fishermen who depend on them.
The turbines can also create a barrier to certain types of fishing.
“If these projects really affect right whale populations then shouldn’t that be known before we start driving monopoles, (supports for wind-turbines)intothe round?” Mackey stated. “Or if it is going to impact the Cold Pool, aren’t we supposed to make some design changes to ensure that that doesn’t happen?” Mackey said. Before we can go into development, we must answer many of these questions.
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The Responsible Offshore Developer Alliance’s executive director, Annie Hawkins, said that fisherman are also concerned about the danger posed by wind turbines. Hawkins said wind turbines can interfere with radars of all types. She also raised the issue to radar companies and offshore companies.
Hawkins said that she hopes that some of $26 million allocated for offshore wind research will go towards solving the problem.
She stated that once a project has been built, there is not much you can do about the impact. It’s all about the planning.”You can’t move turbines once they are there, if that’s the thing that would help.”
Joseph L. Fiordaliso was the president of New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. He said that the $10,000 per megawatt fee will go to researchers at universities in New Jersey to address many of these pressing issues.
In a virtual meeting with reporters, he stated that “We are accumulating all this research and all this adviceto make an determination as to the direction (and how far) we want to travel.”
LaTourette of the Department of Environmental Protection stated that his agency would continue looking at the effects of offshore winds development, work to minimize environmental downsides, as well as fill in gaps in the existing knowledge.
“We need to be able to fully understand the landscape as well as the aquatic environment. He said that this is something we do in every project.”We’re looking across huge swathes. There are always data gaps.”
Officials in the state said that offshore windfarms could reduce or offset climate change’s impacts by reducing carbon emission and switching to renewable energy. They are expected to outweigh their negative effects. These carbon emissions, which are still increasing sea level, flooding, and heavy rainfall, are contributing to the rise in sea level.According to New Jerseyscientists.
LaTourette stated, “We have the ability to stop that getting worse.””That is our chance, and we must use it in a sound and responsible manner.”
Amanda Oglesby hails from Ocean County and covers Brick, Barnegat, Lacey, as well as the environment. She has been working for the Press for over a decade. Reach her at @OglesbyAPP, firstname.lastname@example.org or 732-557-5701.